Artist makes her print at Saint Louis Art Museum

May 18, 2012 by  

An artist can be an observer, bringing her muse to the forefront, but not Kara Walker, who puts her head into the past to explore its historical narrative.

Two prints from Walker’s 2005 all-encompassing collection, Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), have gone on display at Saint Louis Art Museum in Gallery 321. They will be viewable up until August 26.

In her designs, Walker disrupts stories of this era by printing enormous silhouettes over a variety of prints from an original 1866 copy of Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War.

Printing services were used to produce Walker’s famous silhouettes, also called “annotations” because through them the artist investigates matters of gender and race with particular focus on the active roles of African-Americans from yesterday and today.

Included in this presentation are a string of wood etchings of African-Americans from the Civil War period taken from Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. SLAM curator, Rochelle Caruthers, incorporated these graphics to provide a historical perspective to Walker’s works.

Iver Bernstein, professor of African and African-American studies and American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis will provide an additional viewpoint during his two summer lectures on Harper’s at 11:00 am on Thursday, July 19 and 6:00 pm on Friday, July 20.

Curators of photographs, drawings, and prints, Elizabeth Wyckoff, the Romane Beardon fellow, and Rochelle Caruthers, as well as printing companies, contributed to this powerful and emotive project which will be of interest to local history-hunters.